Avodah Mailing List

Volume 40: Number 62

Tue, 20 Sep 2022

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: David Riceman
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2022 12:41:19 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Eating Before Davening

> The minhag is to allowing having coffee or tea even with sugar and
> milk added.

It's true that several poskim rule that on may drink tea or coffee
before davening. I'm unaware of anyone who includes milk or sugar in the
leniency. What bothers me is that the stated reason is that they are
maya b'alma. Now that we consider them psychotropic drugs, and, thus,
devarim hashuvim, how can the heter still apply?

David Riceman
Sent from my iPad

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Message: 2
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 14:24:09 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Is a psak forever?

On Tue, Aug 16, 2022 at 04:59:45PM -0400, Joel Rich via Avodah wrote:
> Is a psak forever? Example- a pulpit rabbi holds a unique lenient position
> concerning grama on Shabbat. After his retirement, is every future
> congregant (and Rabbi) "bound" by that leniency? Are members of that
> congregation bound to inform visitors of their utilization of the leniency?

I already replied:
> I don't have a formal answer to your question. I can only say that in
> practice, I've seen new LORs respect the ruling of their predecessor
> for the first several years.

A recent Arukh haShulchan Yomi <http://aishdas.org/ahs-yomi>, Orakh
Chaim 530:4 <https://www.sefaria.org/Arukh_HaShulchan,_Orach_Chaim_530.4>
may well be a data point.

R Yechiel Michl Epstein is writing about the need, as times, to shore up
honoring and observing chol hamo'eid.

At the end of the se'if (and siman), he writes:
    And it is appropriate for a Chakham to strengthen the prohibition
    of melakhah, if he has the ability. And if one chakham prohibits,
    another lacks the ability to permit it for them. (Ibid. [i.e. see
    Magein Avraham <https://www.sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh%2C_Orach_Chayim.530.1?p2=Magen_Avraham.530.1>])

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Between stimulus & response, there is a space.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   In that space is our power to choose our
Author: Widen Your Tent      response. In our response lies our growth
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF    and our freedom. - Victor Frankl, (MSfM)

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Message: 3
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 15:22:29 -0400
[Avodah] Prison in Halakhah

We know that Sanhedrin used jails. We know there are kippos in which
those awaiting trial or murderers who couldn't be sentenced to death
would be put.

I have often expressed here my assumption that these kippos were also used
as prisons. That beis din's obligation to protect society, like that of a
Noachide cout, couldn't be fulfilled only with the punishments prescribed
by halakhah. Something had to be done to keep dangerous people off the
streets. And a court that was trying not to sentence dinei nefashos more
than once every 7 or 70 years was not sentencing murderers or armed robbers
to death. So... how else could society have run?

What I worked out from first principles my be backed by the mishnah.
Mentioned in today's AhS Yomi (OC 531:1), MQ 3:1. Someone who was released
from jail on ch"m and therefore couldn't or was too depressed to get a
haircut before YT may cut their hair on ch"m. The Bartenura and Rambam
say this refers to a Jewish jail "chavush beyad Yisrael".

The SA 531:4 also talks about chavush beyad Yisrael.

No, this is not Jewish kidnappers, someone who was a released from shevi
over YT was the previous case in the mishnah.

Menorah haNo'ar:
    And someone who was released from the beis ha'asurin, ve'afilu
    chavush beyad Yisrael...

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 The meaning of life is to find your gift.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   The purpose of life
Author: Widen Your Tent      is to give it away.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                   - Pablo Picasso

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Message: 4
From: Joel Rich
Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2022 18:18:03 -0400
[Avodah] muzinka

When the [Ukrainian] wedding celebrations were coming to the end (after a
few days), wedding guests would put the parents of the bride or groom on a
wagon and take them to the village inn (bar) for the so-called ?selling of
the parents,? which meant the parents had to buy everyone a drink. If the
parents married off their last child (son or daughter) then the guests
would make wreaths and place them on the heads of the parents and thus take
them to the village inn. In this frolicking way the wedding celebrations
would come to the end.

She found the information in a Ukrainian magazine published in 1889, which
included an engraving illustrating the event. The magazine article was
based on the works of a Ukrainian ethnographer, folklorist and scholar,
Pavlo Chubynsky (1839-1884), who traveled through Ukrainian villages in the
second half of the nineteenth century, collecting folklore information,
which he later published.

In the 1800s, many village inns and taverns in the Ukraine were owned or
operated by Jewish families, she noted. Therefore, every time the parents
of the newlyweds came into the taverns wearing wreaths and treated everyone
to a drink, the Jewish tavern owners saw this. It is very likely that this
is how the custom came to be part of the Jewish wedding.


Joel Rich
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Message: 5
From: Prof. L. Levine
Date: Wed, 14 Sep 2022 17:45:42 +0000
[Avodah] Serve Hashem with Gladness

The following is from Rav Hirsch on Chumash:

??????? ??????? ???????????????? ???????????? ?????????? ????????????????????? ?????? ?????? ?????

Since you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, with joy and
good heartedness, in total affluence. (Devarim 28:47)

Rabbi Chelba says in the name of Rabbi Huna (Brachos 6b) that anyone who
partakes of the repast at a wedding and does not make the groom happy
"has violated five declarations." Conversely, if a person rejoices with the
groom, "it is as if he has rebuilt one of Yerushalayim's ruins." Why is rejoicing with
the bride and groom equated with the rebuilding of Yerushalayim more so than any
other mitzvah that we may perform?

Most mitzvos can be performed with or without simchah. For instance, one
can don tefillin joyously or grudgingly; eat matzah happily or resentfully; sit in the
sukkah enthusiastically or apathetically. Nevertheless, there is one mitzvah that
cannot be performed without expressing joy, i.e., the mitzvah of rejoicing with a
bride and groom at their wedding.

The destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and Klal Yisrael's subsequent
exile occurred just because "you did not serve Hashem, your G-d, with joy and
good heartedness." Therefore, rejoicing with the bride and groom, the one mitzvah
that can only be successfully performed when done with simchah, rectifies the lack
of joy that caused the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. Consequently, it is as if
he is repairing the cause of the Churban and making it possible to rebuild the ruins
that were destroyed.

The Gemara (Brachos 6b) states that the reward for rejoicing at a
wedding is for the "words" that are expressed. Rashi comments that
this means the words that are said to the chassan, which will cheer him
up. Why does the chassan need to be cheered up on his wedding day,
and what are the "words" that we are to say to the chassan that will
accomplish this?

During the first year of marriage, there is a special mitzvah of for the groom to keep his wife in a constant state of happiness.

Further, the Gemara (Yevamos 62b) states that
a husband must love his wife as himself. A chassan might therefore
be concerned that his wife will insist that he concentrate on these
mitzvos; she might be averse to his Torah pursuits and take him away
from his learning.

Therefore, we bless the chassan at his wedding that his wife should be
among those women who will be delighted to wait for their husbands
until they come home from the study hall (Sotah 21 a). And we reassure
him that the more he will immerse himself in Torah learning, the more
joyous his wife will be. These are the "words" that will bring the chassan

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Message: 6
From: Akiva Miller
Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2022 21:27:39 -0400
[Avodah] Sheqel Kesef

I am working on trying to understand when the root k-s-f refers to the
metal silver, and when it refers to generic money. At the same time, I'm
working on when sh-q-l involves weights and weighing, and when it refers to
a specific coin.

Bereshis 23:16 tells of when Avraham Avinu purchased land from Efron for a
burial plot. This pasuk ought to be a good source of information on these
questions, as it contains each of those roots twice. Unfortunately, I am
puzzled by this pasuk.

Rashi explains that these shekalim were large ones, so it seems to me that
they must have been coins, even though he doesn't actually use that word.
Even without that Rashi, the words "oveir lasocher" would clearly imply
some sort of standard coinage. But if so, then how do we understand the
verb "vayishkol"? It is usually translated "weigh", but that's not what one
does with coins. Coins are *counted*. If Avraham gave coins to Efron, then
the pasuk should have said that he counted them out, not that he weighed
them. Weighing them contradicts the idea that they were universally

One idea that occurred to me is that these coins were larger than normal,
but Avraham did not give 400 of them to Efron. Instead he gave Efron a
smaller number, but he weighed them out to show Efron that he was indeed
getting his full 400 sheqel *weight* of silver. But I don't like that
answer, because weighing was still unnecessary. He still could have counted
them and calculated the weight that was marked on each coin. Maybe Efron
was bad at arithmetic?

Most likely, I'm simply unfamiliar with the idiom. Maybe the verb "to
weigh" *IS* how they speak about counting coins. Anyone else have a guess?

NOTE: I am aware of a claim that coins were not yet invented in Avraham's
time, or even in Moshe Rabenu's time. (Wikipedia, "coin") For those who
lean in that direction, please feel free to interpret this post along the
lines of "How did Rashi understand this pasuk?" or "How did Moshe
understand this pasuk?

Akiva Miller
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Message: 7
From: Zev Sero
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 10:06:13 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Sheqel Kesef

I would imagine that the invention of coins was soon followed by the 
invention of bad coins, and so the usual method of determining how much 
silver you had in a stack of coins was to weigh them rather than to 
count them.  Especially if you were supposed to be getting 400 of them 
-- if you did it by count, and each one was off by just 1%, you'd be 
losing four whole shekalim!

Zev Sero            ?Were we directed from Washington when to sow
z...@sero.name       and when to reap, we should soon want bread.?
                    ?Thomas Jefferson: Autobiography, 1821.

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Message: 8
From: Micha Berger
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2022 12:47:47 -0400
[Avodah] What does tzara'as mean?

AhSY for this coming Thu will include OC 544:2, halakhos of what sheluchei
beis din may do on Ch"M specifically because the acts address tzarkhei
rabbim. The list is quoting the Yerushalmi, either Sheqalim 3a or MQ 3a
(in Ridbaz ed. dafim).

Here's what struck me, two adjactent entries:
    rotz'in eved Ivri
    umetaharim es hametzorah (um*i*taharim...? -- Sepharia has a sheva)

Both use a shoresh of /reish-tzadi-ayin/. I am thinking that Chazal stuck
the two together because they heard a connection in meaning between piercing
the ear and tzara'as.

Anything there? What do you think?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 Integrity is choosing to practice our values
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   rather than simply professing them.
Author: Widen Your Tent                  - Brene Brown
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF


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